“The ability to make an emotional connection is so often misunderstood because it’s not about being emotional or showing emotion. It’s about making a human connection—one person to another.”

– Mary  Verstraete, Emotional Connection and Leadership


Individuals feel increasingly detached and lose sight of their job and purpose in a firm as more employees work from home, outside of the office, and away from their coworkers.

So it has become more critical for leaders to find ways to keep their employees engaged. It doesn’t only keep them motivated and involved; it also contributes to their well-being and gives them a sense of belongingness. Keeping employees engaged is one way to maintain their organization as a great workplace

I had the privilege to interview Louis Carter in Episode 3 of Leading Great Workplaces with Coach Anda. In this interview, Louis shared how leaders could take the lead in building emotional connectedness at work to build truly engaged and productive teams and most loved workplaces.

Louis Carter is a strategic adviser and an executive coach. He has recently published his latest book, In Great Company: How to Spark Peak Performance by Creating an Emotionally Connected Workplace.

What is emotional connectedness?

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek

When you have an emotional connection to an organization or a team, you are heavily invested in it, and it becomes a part of you, an extension of yourself. When you can do that as a leader, there is more engagement because you feel like you are a part of the company and growing with it. However, it should not end there. It should also apply to the team that you lead.

Emotional connectedness refers to the sense of belonging to the organization, growing with it, wanting to contribute, and understanding where it is heading. You become more engaged as a result of this connection.


How do you create that emotional connection?

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.” -Dale Carnegie

It is a question of how you can assist the team in developing emotional connections. To do so, you must first understand what motivates your employees. Determine and understand what is important to them, their values, and how their goals relate to the company. Putting all of these together results in emotional connection.

However, as a leader and team member, you must be conscious of when you are not emotionally connected. And then there’s the matter of how to get back on track. Knowing when that happens when there is disengagement is crucial. You may see the effects on performance, or you’re not as enthusiastic to accomplish the things that work. It is visible in terms of performance and people’s day-to-day responses.

So it’s good to have a conversation. If you’re talking to a team, it’s good to have a conversation with your team or one-on-one with the people you feel are not emotionally connected. As a leader, ask yourself these questions:

    • What is it about today?
    • What is it not making me feel emotionally connected?
    • What elements or environments do I need to create an emotionally connected environment for myself and my team?

Psychological safety is essential in fostering emotional connections in the workplace. Amy Edmonson defines it as “a shared belief held by team members that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.”

Team members are not worried about being humiliated when they speak out, ask questions, share ideas, or challenge the status quo in a workplace that supports psychological safety. Every employee feels valued, respected, and emotionally connected in this work atmosphere.

In my interview with Louis Carter, he pointed out ways how to create an emotional connection.

Co-creation and Collaboration

There has to be a bigger meaning or bigger purpose or the impact of what you’re doing as a team together. Make every team member a part of the system that made something larger through systemic collaboration.

People who don’t typically feel like they are collaborating systemically in the system feel disjoined till they are marginalized and marginalization reduces productivity substantially.

Positive Vision of the Future

This is the bigger vision, bigger purpose, the why behind what you’re doing. It’s all about what you stand for as a leader, what your beliefs are, your values, the vision that you see, and the alignment of values.


What happens to an organization with no emotional connection?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Employees lose interest in their work, their leaders, and the organizations for which they work. They have no motivation to go above and beyond the bare minimum of effort and no reason to keep when better opportunities arise.

Emotional connectedness is like a personal relationship. You are most likely to leave when your values, beliefs, and principles no longer align.

Another excellent example of what might happen when there is no emotional connection is a group of individuals rowing a boat. The people in front are rowing the boat. Those in the center are doing nothing, and those in the back are already jumping off. What will happen to the boat and the people on board?

Today’s leaders must work hard to maintain an emotional connection.

How can emotional connectedness help improve resilience?

When there is emotional connectedness among teams and leaders, they become aware of their responsibilities and contributions to the organization’s goals. They recognize that their work serves a greater purpose than transactional activity, so they become fully committed and loyal. Purpose-driven teams are more likely to perform at a higher level and significantly contribute to the organization. Additionally, emotionally connected teams know how to ask for help.

During times of difficulty and uncertainty, it becomes easier for the team and the leader to recover.

The advantages of emotional connections go beyond resilience. According to studies, emotionally connecting your workforce to the organization and its leaders provides the following benefits:

    • Productivity will rise.
    • Reduced attrition rates.
    • Accountability and commitment,
    • Improved relationships with coworkers, customers, and clients
    • More collaboration.
    • A greater degree of transparency.

What can leaders do to build emotional connections?

Create a program for coaching. Coaching helps leaders build inclusive behaviors, promote a culture of belonging, and assist workers in supporting their and others’ feeling of belonging. Coaching can help team members do the inner work they need to do to feel valued and included in their team.

Set up employee engagement programs that are like check-ins. You can use a mix of workshops and fun activities to make a workplace that touches all the senses and emotions.